The Centre and states have stepped up Covid testing and checks after four cases of the Omicron sub-variant driving the massive China surge were found in the country. New guidelines are being issued and people have been advised to take the precaution dose of the Covid vaccine if they haven’t yet. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will review the Covid situation in India in a meeting today.
The Karnataka government has said it will start monitoring international passengers at Bengaluru airport, though the date hasn’t yet been announced.
The Maharashtra health department has asked all the district administrations and municipal corporations to ramp up testing. Health minister Tanaji Sawant directed all the districts to follow a five-point programme — test, track, treat, vaccinate and (ensure) COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will chair a review meeting for the Covid situation and preparedness in the state today at 3:30 pm.
In Uttarakhand, the state government is preparing to issue a fresh set of standard operating procedure on Covid based on the Centre’s guidelines following a sudden spurt in cases in some countries, Health Minister Dhan Singh Rawat has said.
The Odisha government has asked the district administrations to strengthen surveillance and take measures for whole genome sequencing of Covid-positive samples.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also expressed concern over the surge in COVID-19 cases in China, and advised health officials to form a committee of experts to keep an eye on the emerging situation.
The Union health ministry had on Tuesday sent a missive to state governments asking them to gear up for any possible future surge and to send for genome sequencing all positive case samples for tracking the variants.
There has been an alarming surge in Covid cases in China, Japan, South Korea, France, and the United States. The spike is being blamed on new Omicron sub-variant BF.7, which has also been detected in four Indian states.
Sources have said there are currently 10 different variants of Covid in the country, BF.7 being the latest.
The country reported 129 fresh infections over the last 24 hours, and the number of active cases currently stands at 3,408. One death was recorded.
BF.7 is a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant BA.5 and is highly contagious, has a shorter incubation period, and has a higher capacity to cause reinfection or infect even those vaccinated, news agency PTI reported.
The head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday said he was “very concerned” about an unprecedented wave of Covid cases in China, as the health body urged Beijing to accelerate vaccination of the most vulnerable, news agency AFP reported.
“WHO is very concerned over the evolving situation in China, with increasing reports of severe disease” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a weekly news conference, appealing for detailed information on disease severity, hospital admissions and intensive care requirements.
“WHO is supporting China to focus its efforts on vaccinating people at the highest risk across the country, and we continue to offer our support for clinical care and protecting its health system”, he added.
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